Honey and I recently graduated another dog training class. Although we can work at home, it’s always more fun to meet other people and their dogs.
Anyway, I was startled to find that two of the families in our class had recently installed underground, electric fences to keep their dogs home. If you don’t know what this is, it’s an electrical system buried under the ground that emits a shock. The dog is trained to recognized the property boundaries using a series of flags. When the training is complete, the dog is sent into the yard wearing a collar that transmits the frequency from the underground wiring.
If the dog gets within a certain distance, they hear a sound. If they continue toward the fence, they receive a shock.
The families in our dog training class obviously loved their dogs. One couple took their dog for long hikes nearly every day. The other family took their pup to doggy day care a few days a week. They were training their dogs and enjoyed spending time with them.
But they didn’t appear to have considered some of the downsides of electric fences. For instance, when the teacher mentioned that an electric fence may (or may not) keep a dog on its property but it does nothing to keep him safe from someone or something else crossing the boundary, it was obvious neither family had considered the risks.
Christine Hibberd over at Behind the Behavior wrote a really terrific post on invisible fences. Since most of the information about this system is provided by the companies selling them, it’s good to get a complete picture.
And if you’d like other options?
- Don’t let your dog play outside unless you play with her. It’s great fun and your dog will probably have more fun with you than she would alone.
- Teach a really good recall. It keeps your dog safe and improves your bond.
- Find safe, fenced areas to take your dog to.
As for me, the only way I plan to shock Honey is by hanging around when she’s pretending to be “cool” with her friends.